Mercedes ‘gained three-tenths with Monza upgrade’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes’ new power unit is believed to have gained them three-tenths of a second per lap at the last race.

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Comment of the day

Is open cockpit racing inevitably facing its demise? Or is this an immutable part of Formula One, however dangerous it may be?

This has proved one of the most fascinating and well-argued debates we’ve had on the site recently, and its clear reader opinion is split right down the middle. Add your vote to the poll and join in the discussion here:

Here’s a sample of some of the views put forward on each side of the discussion:

I used to be strongly opposed to closed cockpits on the grounds that open-head racing has been a signature of F1 since its inception. But I have to accept that is a purely sentimental reason, and should be trumped by considerations of safety – drivers aren’t gladiators and we don’t go to races to see people get hurt.

The issue for me is whether closed cockpits would introduce other, new, safety issues. I certainly don’t think you could just pop a plexiglass bubble on the current cars and say ‘job done’. Introducing closed cockpits would have to go hand-in-hand with a thorough investigation of F1 car design and the regulations that drive it.
Charles King (@Charleski)

For me, it is completely emotional. I raced open wheelers for three years and gladly accepted all risks. Granted, my category was much slower than F1 but I have had another car’s wheel pass by me.

It is what it is. Call it tradition, call it what you will. I will always want to watch open cockpit race cars and I can’t explain why. To me, putting a cockpit on an F1 car is as ridiculous as enclosing a MotoGP motorcycle. It is what it is and if you don’t like it, go race something else or make a different category. Seriously, why do we have to keep reducing the risk of everything? This world is becoming way too soft. That’s my opinion. If a driver dies, it’s bad, but people die every day doing mundane things like walking to the shops or falling off a ladder.
John Cousins (@Drone)

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On this day in F1

A postponed Belgian Grand Prix took place on this day 30 years ago. The 1985 race was delayed due to a problem with the track surface. Ayrton Senna scored his second F1 win in a wet-dry race.

Senna took the lead from pole sitter Alain Prost at the start and was never headed after then.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Mercedes ‘gained three-tenths with Monza upgrade’”

  1. “If you add that 160bhp deficit on to where the ICE is lacking compared to Mercedes (which is widely believed to be around 80bhp) that leaves Honda facing up to a scenario where it needs to find 240bhp if it going to match the best.”

    The problem with this is that the MGU-H isn’t doing any meaningful recovery, be it lower in the rev range or higher up.

    The 240 hp figure sounds overly excessive, but one thing is clear: when you compare McLaren’s performance at Monaco and Hungary to their performance at Canada and Monza, it becomes obvious that the engine is the main problem. McLaren’s front end seems quite good, Alonso has stated that the car itself is quite nice to drive. Likewise, if you have a powerful engine, obviously you can also afford to add more downforce.

    I simply don’t understand how Honda, a manufacturer with a budget comparable to Mercedes, could possibly design an engine so terrible. Many minnows in the past (eg Supertec, Megachrome) designed engines much more competitive relative to the best, with only a fraction of the resources that Honda have. This 2015 Honda engine is far worse than either Ferrari or Renault were last year, probably the most embarrassing engine of at least the past 20 years.

    1. What makes it worse is that Honda could see what a mess Renault made of their engine last year. So they actually had a clear example of what could go wrong.

      I thought at the time that at least this was a warning to Honda and would ensure they were not over confidant or complacent.

      1. @mach1 – Not only that, but they had info on the Merc engine and how it was doing what it was doing so well. They could see the Merc power curves and they could test their own unit in development and either their rig/process was way out of proper calibration and they thought they were fine, or they knew it was a disaster and didn’t do anything about it.

        In addition, all the descriptions of the Honda power unit have been about how they wanted to keep the packaging tight and small and hide everything in the V between the banks of cylinders. So it sounds like they went for smaller footprint over power production, cooling, reliability, and ease of future development. In my opinion (thought admittedly with the benefit of hindsight) they should have gone for a powerful, robust (whether copycat or not) power unit and then find ways to reduce the size or extra weight as needed.

        1. Well sort of, they would of seen the layout but Mercedes brought the engines to the races themselves – McLaren never had an engine at Woking. They got given a block to design around (IE a big plastic shape) but they were always kept under lock and key by Mercedes who installed the engines into the car for every race.

      2. Honda could see what a mess Renault made of their engine last year. So they actually had a clear example of what could go wrong.

        You’re kidding right? Did Honda have access to either Renault or Mercedes simulation data? CAD drawings? detailed design of the combustion chamber? all the data from the hundreds of dyno runs they did? Full characterisation of the batteries and power electronics (as in how their efficiency changes with load/temperature).

        God I could go on and on, I know it’s hard to understand but these engines are so complex that just “copying” a design is impossible, neither Renault or Honda engineers are stupid they just ran out of time and had to make compromises everywhere to get the cars running in Australia.

        Now they’re just playing catch up and will have to wait until Mercedes can’t improve their package as much, which could take a while unfortunately.

        1. McLaren ran the Mercedes powertrain for a year. They have the data for that years powertrain. McLaren have an extreme interest in the Honda’s powertrain being a good one. You don’t think they had a few conversations with Honda where they happened to mention how much energy Mercedes could recapture and deploy, or how much horsepower the engine could output?

          They had to fit the thing in their car. They knew the dimensions, they knew how the thing was configured. They knew the batteries it was using, they knew how it was cooled. They knew how much cooling it needed. They had the data on how it performed.

          Honda knew the target they were aiming for. :-)

          1. Yes but it’s all in the detail!!
            Knowing what they were aiming for is a good starting point but it’s just that, a starting point. The rest they have to figure it out pretty much from scratch. And by the way the batteries, ERS, etc they don’t use the same identical parts so obviously the requirements are going to be different.

            And let’s not forget McLaren only had real access to the Mercedes engine by early 2014, at that point Honda only had 9 months until they ran the test in Abu Dhabi so of course they couldn’t easily change paths in their development.

            I don’t know, maybe because I’m an engineer but I can certainly understand what happens when you run out of time to finish a project. In the end you always finish the work on time but is not as good as it could be.

        2. @mantresx You have missed and somewhat overthought the point I was making.

          It was very clear last year that Renault were very behind in their engine development. They had misjudged how competative their engine would be from the off.

          That alone demonstrated (without any data) how hard it could possibly be to get the whole package working and also be competative.

          So….for Honda to comeout recently and say “we did not imagine it would be this hard”, when they already had the example of Renault discovering how hard it actually was, just shows how complacent they were.

          Renaults public struggles should have been a shock and a wake up call to Honda.

          Thats is the point I was trying to make.

          1. Not just last year. When Mercedes published the audio track of their engine simulating Monza on the dyno, in August 2013, Renault could only respond with a photograph of a mock-up of their engine. The writing was on the wall back then and Williams, for one, had already spotted it.

    2. I was about to state the same. 240bhp, and according to some articles no significant recovery means -240 all the time, which is definitely not the case. Actually I think Monza went out much better than I was expecting, the Hungary update actually worked out much better than what we saw for instances in Melbourne.
      Honestly I think the British press and worldwide press in general, (not F1fanatic) are gunning down Honda. Yes, Honda’s engine is not competitive at all, but as we know in F1, Honda and McLaren are a synergy and even if things went wrong on the Honda camp, the McLaren team failed to act upon this in any which way. The lynching has to stop.

      McLaren is certainly not going to hold Honda’s hand. McLaren is a smaller company and may face, on top of the poor results a further devaluation of their personality rights, if they are to take responsibility for their demise. Obviously, the perceived supportive stance by the press is welcome. McLaren surely take some gloating from having Honda as the entity culpable for the perceived humiliating performances, and not McLaren themselves, even if they should not suddenly become too outspoken. Boullier’s stance at Monza will hurt their synergy for the foreseeable future. I have no doubts that Honda can turn this around, I’m can still remember when their PU wouldn’t register a full pitlane per testing day.
      I called it lynching because of the constant tone of the supposedly informative but often bias articles, featuring half-assed “guestimations” in horsepower. Finally there’s the case of the misinterpretation of the Honda press releases which SKY take with much candour… Sky managed to misquote Arai’s +25 bhp on the ICE than Renault for 2.5 days. Sky didn’t stop there as they dragged Arai’s name through the mud for the entirety of Friday and Saturday, not once has Sky apologized.

      @Kingshark Supertech and Mecachrome were re-branded Renault engines.

    3. I somehow get the feeling that McLaren & Honda made exactly the same errors as Ferrari did last year.
      The design of the McLaren is very slim, in order to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. Could it be that McLaren forced Honda to build the PU as compact as possible to fit into their design?
      This would explain one part of their power deficit. Just like Ferrari in 2014, when they compromised the PU (small turbo-charger, akward positioning of compressor and severly limited recovery from the MGU-H) for aerodynamic efficiency.

      1. I find the rear packaging of the McLaren quite reminiscent of last years Red Bull when first introduced and that car actually won a couple of races.

        So it’s quite possible that the awful relationship that is/was Red Bull Renault was actually less awful than this works outfit. Bad times, nobody wants to see McLaren struggle like this with two world champions, something needs to be done about this ridiculous token system.

    4. I simply don’t understand how Honda, a manufacturer with a budget comparable to Mercedes, could possibly design an engine so terrible.

      Honestly, the fault lies with both Mclaren and Honda. Despite witnessing Ferrari’s mistake of sacrificing PU performance for Aerodynamic gain, Mclaren thought the ‘size zero’ approach was the way to go. This unnecessarily compromised Honda’s PU design, and forced them to think radical and risky instead of a tried and tested formula.

      Obviously Honda’s lack of experience with F1 engines and ERS over the past 8 years didn’t help them either. They weren’t particularly impressive with their last stint in the V10 and V8 era, so it was no surprises that Honda’s engineers were always going to be a little rusty when entering back in 2015.

      No one anticipated such a massive disaster though… and honestly I cannot seeing Honda catching up to Ferrari and Mercedes anytime before 2018. Alonso better start keeping a close eye on that Renault takeover

  2. I really think the McLaren Honda project has tried to run before it could walk. The whole size zero and centrifugal compressor things sound great on paper but it’s like they’ve tried to jump straight to the finished concept without learning how to make it work.

    We saw Red Bull make the same mistake in testing last year, parts of bodywork melting and having to cut holes for cooling. The Mercedes teams started off far more logically gradually shrinking the bodywork as they learned more effective cooling strategies.

    To be honest the only solution I can see to this is Honda stealing some Mercedes personnel as that would have the double impact of hurting Mercedes development and giving Honda some much needed expertise. The problem is with your typical gardening leave that wouldn’t happen until 2017, and then they’d have minimal impact on the 2018 engine so 2019 before that could give any real results. How many tokens would teams even have by that point? They’re going to need some major development concessions from the FIA to stand a chance of competing.

    1. They didn’t allow McLaren guys to help them – ’cause of cultural differences – so I don’t believe they’ll allow anyone else.

    2. Honda won’t employ ‘F1 people’ as it’s not their way…

      1. And if they maintain that ignorant attitude winning won’t be their way either. Both Mercedes and Ferrari have shown that personnel acquisitions are what move you up the grid.

    3. Honda is trying to work with radically less space and less airflow than other engine suppliers. Either they think they can repeal the laws of thermodynamics or they think Mercedes derped. Sadly for them, neither is true. its already clear that size zero is a failure. Like Ferrari, they need to start again conceptually with integrating chassis and engine. This Car is another mp4-19. It happens, even with Newey. Time to Move on. Or move back to older designs.

      1. Last years design would be considerably worse for them as the rear suspension blockers they had created too much drag.

        I’ve long held the opinion that constant clean slate designs are why McLaren are doing so poorly. They spend so much resources on concepts they crap after a season. Last years suspension blockers, 2013 pull rod front suspension, 2012 low chassis concept, 2011 U-shape side pods to name a few.

        As such I completely expect them to scrap size zero and flounder over something new next year.

  3. The debate on open / closed cockpits is super interesting. As a fan since the late 70’s I’m on the John Cousins @Drone side of the debate. Although having not driven open wheel, at least not in this life, it ultimately does come down to what the driver is prepared to risk. Should the decision on open / closed cockpits not be therefore left to the open wheel racers themselves?

    1. Exactly. Most of the other safety measures were brought in because of the drivers, not anyone else. The same for this. If the drivers all want it, fine, but if they don’t, leave it be.

    2. Go-karts drivers are very exposed and race with less experienced drivers… FIA should take a look at that too #justsaying

      1. Don’t think that’s a really fair comparison. Karts do not reach the same speeds, the debris that comes off a kart is much lighter than an open wheeler (though I think loose wheels are still a problem), the tracks are very different and thus, the dangers.

        Safety is always a contextual thing. I get and respect that people don’t want closed cockpits, I don’t get that people (and I’m generalizing here) rationalize their own opinion by throwing in skewed comparisons to other forms of motoring.

        1. @npf1

          I get and respect that people don’t want closed cockpits, I don’t get that people (and I’m generalizing here) rationalize their own opinion by throwing in skewed comparisons to other forms of motoring.

          I agree, like everyone seems to be doing with F1 and Indycar?

    3. @mccosmic I think little is done with the driver in mind in F1. If it were up to what the drivers want we wouldn’t have the poor tires they have nor the ultra conservation wrt fuel, tires and gear. Drivers have a say, but not the final say, but it is interesting to me that lately a few comments have come out (maybe it was Webber) that changes going forward should be for the drivers to be out there actually enjoying the racing for a change. This constant monitoring of everything and racing only when told and even that at 8/10ths of what it could/should be is not making for a great product out there. And the drivers could all rally together with outcry for enclosed cockpits. Said outcry does not produce the massive amounts of money it would take for such a redesign given teams are already crying about the coming 2017 changes being too costly.

      1. @robbie I’m not for one minute suggesting that the drivers should have the last say on elements such as tires, fuel conservation etc. But this cockpit thing is a pure safety issue and it’s literally the drivers with their heads in the firing line. In my view and in this specific instance, the studies should be made, the options presented, and the drivers have the final say on what happens.

  4. I think the proposed use of 1-year-old engines is both good news and bad news. For a team like Manor to use 2015 Mercedes engines at a cheap price makes a lot of sense; for a team like Force India, it might also be interesting to have the choice between the latest power unit and a cheaper one (though it does not say yet which version of the 2015 power unit).

    The bad news is that Red Bull will most likely be lumped with 2015 Ferrari units, which makes it unlikely they will be championship contenders. I’m not a Red Bull fan, but in my opinion F1 needs more competition at the front, and I found the prospect of Red Bull-Mercedes, which looked quite likely a month ago, very exciting.

    However, Red Bull has been snubbed by Mercedes by reasons that will probably never made clear to us (Dieter Zetsche was apparently quoted along the lines that it was impossible to guarantee a long-term relationship with the team), and now it looks like for 2016 (and beyond) Red Bull will be consigned to a state of semi-competitiveness.

    1. I missed the initial ‘current -1’ engine discussion mentioned by @adrianmorse
      I think it is more bad than good though. I would hate it if works-teams can withhold the ‘current’ PU from their customers and have a lasting advantage over them.
      On the other hand it would be a good ‘option’ for smaller teams to get last year’s PU at a discount, and spend more money on other areas (where they might get a bigger return for their money) or improve profitability.
      Maybe it should be an ‘option’ only which the customer can decides. Of course the PU should then also have a budget cap: enough for the manufacturer to make a good margin (R&D costs are sunk), and sufficient variance between ‘current’ and ‘current -1’ for customers to have a real choice.

  5. Interesting to see how everyone wonders why Honda or Renault ‘can’t’ build a ‘good engine’ when the engine is just one portion of the issue. I went trough tech regulations lately just to see what is so difficult about it because I don’t believe that Renault or Honda don’t have capable people to design a good POWER UNIT. So, what’s all about? Lets see what regulations say:

    5.1.6 Pressure charging may only be effected by the use of a sole single stage compressor linked to
    a sole single stage exhaust turbine by a shaft assembly parallel to the engine crankshaft and
    within 25mm of the car centre line. The shaft must be designed so as to ensure that the shaft
    assembly, the compressor and the turbine always rotate about a common axis and at the
    same angular velocity, an electrical motor generator (MGU-H) may be directly coupled to it.

    I see huge challenges in ‘same angular velocity of compressor, shaft assembly and turbine always rotating at the same angular velocity.’ If you try to rev up turbocharger to avoid turbo lag you risk a shock wave in the exhaust manifold because your intention to rev up compressor does the same to turbine as well. Turbine at this short stage works as a compressor ’cause instead of being driven by exhaust gases it might revert them back to engine until being fed by sufficient amount of exhaust gases. That is causing a need to intervene on ignition and fuel injection side. But, lets say you’ve solved that. Energy harvesting by MGU-H? MGU-H is a DC motor that just revved up a your turbo compressor unit. Being coupled to it it can do that. But now you have to harvest energy and use it as a generator. When would you like to do it? All the time or you’ll throw your MGU-H generator in breaking regime just to keep the compressor within 3.5bar charging pressure when you reach top of engine revs. IT’S A CLIPPING TIME!!! People working on these complexed units know what it means. Would you harvest trough the whole rev envelope and choke the engine a bit, would you redirect portion of MGU-H energy directly to MGU-K and save some of battery capacity to keep it alive trough the whole lap? How would you balance use of waste gate and energy harvesting while keeping compressor within prescribed limits?
    It is obvious that a lot of things have to click together to have a good performing PU. I do not wonder why someone messed it up I wonder how Merc and Ferrari guys did it right!?

    1. @boomerang, the electric power side of the PU is indeed a complex and unknown area of development but I am constantly amazed at the quoted difference in max power of the ICE, having read the regulations you will no doubt be aware they are a virtual blueprint for a 1.6L 60 degree V6 with 80mm max bore etc. etc. One wonders how such experienced engine makers could fail to come within 1-2% of the best, especially given identical max fuel flow.

      1. @hohum, I can only think it’s cooling related – trade off between compactness and prolonged ‘flat out’.

  6. These new engines were supposed to be FIA flag bearer of the ‘Green’ initiative, but I have hardly seen any mention of how FIA is caring for the environment

  7. Merging the old engines and re-branding present in above comments – if we get Manor-Mercedes, surely that could be a very cheap title sponsorship/engine name for Aston Martin to pick up? They’d like Williams or even Force India no doubt, but I doubt they can afford them, else they would have done it already. Martini Aston Martin-Williams just rolls off the tongue.

    I can see Mercedes getting the top spec, Williams second spec, FI third spec, Manor fourth spec. At the moment, that would be 2014 for Manor, 2015 for FI, 2015 upgrade for Williams and 2016 for Mercedes. Although, it’ll actually be cheap 1 year old engines (Manor, maybe FI/Williams), and possibly cost capped current engines (Mercedes, maybe Williams/FI with lag time for upgrades). Same modus operandi for Ferrari?

    1. @fastiesty, for Manor I can see potential benefits, MB-AMG could supply re-built 2015 engines tuned for reliability and long life at a vast savings to both and what Manor may lose on the straights could to some degree be compensated for by reliability and lack of grid penalties, Jack Brabham won the 1966 WDC with that philosophy.

      1. @hohum True, and with Wehrlein they would have a ‘Bianchi’ type driver as well. They could seriously take it to Sauber/Lotus-Renault. Maybe Haryanto will be the reserve/test driver, so I wonder who will be the other driver.. if it’s Stevens then they have a ‘Chilton’ type too!

  8. McLaren had a Mercedes PU last year, their data and knowledge of the mighty Mercedes power unit ain’t helping?

    1. The Mercedes engine didnt exactly help them last year either.

    2. The Mercedes Pu probably would not fit in their chassis by a long shot and the data are inapposite. Somehow they ran this PU and said, hmmm, Mercedes is doing it wrong, their PU is too big and over-cooled.

    3. They had already announced their switch to Honda – I doubt they ever received the latest plans or software from Mercedes. They were on the team’s equivalent of gardening leave.

  9. Considering the fact that without the 0.3s Hamilton would have qualified 3rd, and without an old engine Rosberg would have qualified ahead of Hamilton, which would have made Ham 4th, it looks very interesting.

    1. Hard to say that without knowing Hamilton didn’t have his engine turned down through quali

      1. Well of course, if you don’t think Mercedes was being honest, since they DID say that the engine was not turned down.

        1. Considering the first line after the title says “I’m told it’s 0.3s (at Monza). I don’t know for sure, we haven’t spoken to our Mercedes people about it.” Plus the fact that Hamilton says he didn’t get the maximum out of his lap, makes this whole thing pointless.

  10. On the COTD, I am strongly in favour of closed cockpits, as long as they are done as a complete chassis redesign (not just adding a canopy to existing designs). All the potential safety problems can be dealt with. It would bring so many extra potential benefits besides safety that I think it’s worthwhile. The only argument I can see remaining not to do so is the “tradition” argument, which I disagree with. F1 is a technical sport which has evolved over time. The tradition argument could have stopped a move from front to mid engines, introduction of wings, and all manner of improvements.

    1. To be fair, the changes you listed are mostly performance enhancing. Teams tend to care less about tradition when they can gain on the track or in their wallets. Closed cockpits are safety changes, where I can only think of Sauber running with higher cockpit edges in 1994 and 1995 where a team left tradition at the door for safety without FIA intervention.

      1. @drmouse As @npf1 points out with his wallet reference, tradition is far from the only thing stopping closed cockpits. We are now reading about teams already decrying the potential cost increases from the relatively mundane changes coming for 2017, relative to a complete redesign that is. So I think the most they are going to do if anything anytime soon would be an add-on such as a roll hoop in front of the driver, or the Mercedes concept of a halo. Imho either nothing will happen, or it will be something not requiring a complete redesign. There simply isn’t the money. Or put another way, there’s lots of money in F1 but directing it toward enclosed cockpits is something I do not see happening anytime soon.

    2. The number one benefit of the enclosed cockpits for me is the possibility of seeing the drivers face. I’m assumig they would no longer have to wear a full face helmet.

      Benefits: G-forces deforming their faces and all sorts of expressions when they screw up, get over taken, win a race etc. It would be great.

      1. @Nick F Until it can be guaranteed that there will be no smoke or flame ever entering the cockpit, you won’t see them without visors, imho. in fact I think it could easily be the opposite and if they ever did fork out the billions it would take for a complete redesign to accommodate enclosed cockpits, they might also have to have fighter jet type oxygen masks in case of fire/smoke, unless they could somehow absolutely guarantee a satisfactory and crash proof ventilation system to evacuate fumes until a driver can be extracted from the car. What if there is the need for in-cockpit fire extinguishers? Perhaps WEC has already figured some of this out? I certainly don’t think they have done away with visors though have they?

        1. @robbie I knew they didn’t wear open faced helmets, but because I’m a very dull person. I looked at the FIA’s sporting reg. All WEC drivers regardless of the class they’re driving in have to wear an FIA 8860 compliant helmet. Basically the same standard they use in F1.

        2. WRC have open-face helmets @robbie and those guys drive in amongst the trees. They have to have a sealed firewall of course.

          I think a canopy definitely entails a sealed cockpit, but being sealed means there won’t be fumes to extract!

          The driver can sit there while the oft-imagined disaster scenario rages outside, until the fire marshalls arrive in their usual ten seconds to put the fire out, followed within the regulation two minutes by the full rescue squad.

          I think it’s an opportunity. It will need ventilation, aircon, F1 wash-wipe, probably a wider tub and lots of development and testing, expensive as you say, so it really needs a payback and losing the helmet and dark visor would give that commercial payback on top of the safety benefit.

          It would just need a HANS attachment. I’m not sure if a headband could be sufficient, but WRC uses HANS with open-faced helmets so I’m thinking it could, in terms of where the support is delivered in relation to the head’s centre of gravity. And it would help the neck not to have the weight of a helmet on top of it.

          1. Fair enough but I still can’t see it, pardon the pun. A sealed cockpit is all well and good, until a situation occurs such that there is indeed fumes entering into the cockpit, or originating from within, depending on the severity of the incident which I’m assuming they have to assume…the worst case scenarios.

            Just can’t envision F1 having no visors, but then I also don’t envision any way they will possibly do such a redesign, such would be the cost, that would get them to the point of having such a trustworthy solution that visors could be eliminated let alone the full helmets they have now. I would think insurance would be very hard to get too. I see any type of halo or roll cage or cockpit surround as being an add-on thing, not requiring a redesign until they can commit to the billions it will take to totally change the look and feel of F1.

  11. twitter links not embedding there @keithcollantine

    1. @sato113 That was due to a minor server problem this morning – it should display correctly now.

  12. I’m indifferent to the aesthetic or emotional aspect of closed cockpits however I do worry about the potential weight increase of an effective canopy and whether or not some form of air conditioning would have to also come with that.

    If all that could be offset with lighter components elsewhere or removing ballast then bring it on.

  13. One thing that’s not totally clear is whether, under this ‘current-1’ proposal, customer would be able to opt to pay more and have current spec engines, and if so whether suppliers would be obligated to provide them. While in principle I don’t mind the idea of teams like Manor being able to buy the previous year’s spec, how could a team like RBR realistically continue operating if they haven’t got access to competitive power units? Red Bull have the budget and facilities to match any team, and yet if they are restricted to using out of date technology, how could they ever be competitive? And if they aren’t able to be competitive, why would they ever want to carry on participating? If it’s not possible for customers to buy current spec power units, all it will do is cement Mercedes’ position as the champion team. They will win championship after championship and nobody will ever be able to challenge them.

    1. Great point. From how the articles are worded and given Arrivabene’s confidence in not being challenged by a Ferrari powered Red Bull, it sounds like the decision lies with the engine supplier. Which is bad for competition.

    2. Red Bull has proved in the past that they do not need the best engine to win, in the v8 era, the Renault was 30hp less then the others, but Red Bull built the best car, so they still won. now, the power disadvantage is far too much for them to win. with a Ferrari engine, even with this years Ferrari engine for next year, they will be much better off then with the dreadful Renault, they might not win, but they will be much closer to Mercedes.

  14. @Drone‘s comment is painful to read, and it illustrates perfectly the ridiculous argument of those against closed cockpits, and why they should be ignored.

    “I want it because I want it and I can’t explain why”, beautiful logic there. And “people die doing other things therefore we should stop trying to make an extremely dangerous sport safer”, is as irrational as it gets.

    If you’re enjoyment of F1 depends that much on open cockpits that you’re willing to put drivers in dangers for the sake of it, then you really don’t get what the sport is about in its current form.

  15. In any other era in f1, all the teams would have done so much progress with the engines over several races, such that there would be relative parity…. no in this stupid era… the new low development rules were designed to save money, yet the power units cost more then ever, and the development that is allowed is costing so much more, as more work is needed to find the gains. Mercedes got lucky, Ferrari, Renault and Honda would all have caught up to Mercedes by now without the stupid token system, and they would have done it cheaper, and the racing would be fairer and more interesting. in 2 years I can see both Renault and Honda bailing out of f1, and then we will be left with just 2 engine (power unit) manufacturers, and it will be just desserts for this stupid era of the sport, and the only person left smiling will be Lewis Hamilton with 5 championship wins to his name

    1. Eh how do you know they’d have caught Mercedes? When Mercedes would be able to keep development up on their own engine.

      1. Did you ever hear of diminishing returns ???

        1. We have but given the progress Mercedes just made with a single development leap I don’t think they’re near that yet.

          1. You don’t think, but Totto Wolf from Mercedes think, that his team is reaching it.


            Anyway, without token system, we would have more intense fights for podiums, for sure.

    2. I get where you’re coming from and I’m definitely not a fan of the tokens system. But I don’t think that the manufacturers themselves are free of blame. After all, they collectively pushed for these regulations. And in reality, while development is definitely restricted, there is enough freedom at least in this year for well over half the PU to be changed in design. They currently have a fair amount of technical freedom, and certainly if Renault had some bold change in design that would unlock a lot of potential, there would be no major barrier to them implementing it. The fact that they haven’t done so yet suggests two possibilities – they are unable to improve the PU, or they are unwilling to improve the PU. Sadly I suspect it’s the former – their power unit isn’t anywhere near as good as the others (barring Honda’s embarrassing effort) and they simply have no idea how to make it better. You can’t blame the tokens for that. In fact without the token restriction, chances are Mercedes would be even more dominant.

      Mercedes have produced a power unit which is extremely powerful and is probably the most reliable engine in F1 history. They have demonstrated that the technical challenge set by the regulations is achievable. It’s expensive, absolutely, but I would also counter your statement about the cost. The cost per unit is certainly higher than any previous power unit, but the cost per year for supply is not at a historical high. Before the introduction of the V8 engines, when development was unrestricted, engine budgets were higher than they were today. They also formed a larger percentage of each team’s overall spend. Yes, per unit, they were cheaper than today’s engines, but they would use several over the course of a weekend and they would end up in the bin afterwards. They’d pound round and round test tracks and run them til’ they blew up.

      The difference really is that while you certainly could spend a massive sum on a top notch power unit (excepting the fact that most top teams in those days had the backing to develop their own) there were also independent engine suppliers who could provide relatively good engines for a much lower cost. They weren’t as good as the top ones, but they were in the same ballpark and were a cheap(ish..) way to go racing. Now there are only four suppliers and all of their power units are frighteningly expensive. One is lousy and unreliable, one is a joke of an engine which you couldn’t pay people to use. That leaves just two suppliers of relatively competitive power units, and realistically one is far superior to the other. So basically anyone who isn’t one of those two top teams is stuffed. They have to pay top whack for inferior, unreliable power units, with no hope of ever catching up, while one team dominates at the front.

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